Two important pieces of legislation passed Parliament’s lower house in the early hours of this morning (23 November).

The Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) 2011 was passed by a narrow margin and a related piece of legislation, an increase in compulsory superannuation contributions, is a step closer after The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Bill 2011 increased the superannuation guarantee (SG) rate from 9 per cent to 12 per cent.

The Bill passed the House at about 3am this morning. The Senate will debate the Bill today.

Revenue raised from the MRRT will cover the loss to Government revenue arising from the higher SG.

“During the global financial crisis (GFC) when international debt markets were frozen, these (super) funds became a source of investment for Australian companies mainly through share raisings,” said Senator Matt Thistlewaite.

“Some of these (super) funds were invested in our mining companies hungry for funds to fuel their expansion.”

A spokesperson for the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, says the Government is confident the SG legislation will pass the Senate.

The Bill abolishes the age limit for people contributing to superannuation; and it abolishes contributions tax for anyone earning less than $37,000 a year.

The increase in the SG will be phased in over seven steps, starting in the 2013-14 financial year. It will not reach 12 per cent until 2019-20.

A recent report by the Allen Consulting Group estimates that the increase in the superannuation guarantee from 9 per cent to 12 per cent will raise GDP by 0.33 per cent to 2025.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott is on record as saying he will not repeal the new superannuation measures if he becomes Prime Minister.